In January 2022, we started the first module of our MBA with our first lesson in economics with Professor Ralf Boscheck. Fast forward to December 2022, and here we are, again with Professor Boscheck, having just finished the final module of our MBA with an elective in philosophy. As we sat throughout this session and listened to the views we each held – with many similarities and differences – we cherished the moment in the knowledge that this would be the final opportunity for us to debate in a classroom setting as we close our MBA.
Most of us attended this optional module. Some of us turned up out of curiosity after hearing great things about the class, and others turned up in the knowledge that this would be the last official classroom-style session of our MBA program. Filled with joy at our MBA experience, the class gave a well-earned standing ovation out of gratitude to both Ralf and to each other.
As I have learned throughout my experience over the past few months, it’s very easy to become distracted and caught up with future plans as we look to secure our next steps in life. But one thing that will last a lifetime will be the experience that I have with my fellow classmates, professors, and the IMD team in the final week of my MBA.
I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. It felt like it was only yesterday when I walked into the M100 auditorium for the first time, meeting my future classmates, friends, and business partners – people who would enrich my life in ways I had never anticipated.
We officially closed our MBA with a final session by leadership Professor George Kohlrieser. For this class, the cohort was asked to bring a concrete object which could serve as a symbol of what this year in the IMD MBA class has meant to us; an anchor of what we want to hold on to as a secure base memory. The class brought various objects ranging from a bottle opener to a kitchen pan. For me, it was the gold medal that the IMD MBA 2022 band won during the MBA Tournament, hosted by HEC Paris earlier this year. This medal, of course, holds incredible memories of the band’s performance, but upon reflection, I realize that it represents a much more personal symbol of what this year has meant to me.
Most of us would agree that the pandemic was one of the most challenging experiences that life has thrown at us. For those whose loved ones were affected, especially during the (numerous) lockdowns, it was an alienating experience – and when we needed it the most, we were unable to fully connect with each other. After such a testing time, and the challenging MBA admission process, I was expecting these tough circumstances to continue. I didn’t expect, however, to meet a cohort that would be so welcoming to diversity.
IMD had not previously been known for its gold medal–winning bands, nor was the band going for gold in this competition. Instead, the band was formed of a group of individuals with backgrounds that couldn’t be more diverse, and we just wanted to enjoy the music we performed. We each were artists in our own right, and there is no greater form of expressing one’s individuality and uniqueness than through creative expression. Yet, it was this combined creative expression, which was inherently diverse, that ultimately resulted in our success; fundamental to this was the IMD MBA class’s attitude of welcoming and celebrating diversity.
We closed off the session with an evening of celebration, recognition, and awards as Omar Toulan, Dean of the MBA Program, praised distinguished individuals of the 2022 cohort who had excelled and gone above and beyond during their time at IMD.
It will certainly be difficult to say goodbye to this exceptional community that has become a secure base for me, but on the other hand, I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity to have been a part of this community and to have formed lifelong bonds. I am thankful to everyone who has been a part of this incredible experience and I look forward to becoming an alumnus of this phenomenal business school.
In experiencing these last few days at IMD, I am reminded of a quote that I often reflect upon during times of transition:
“Gratitude at its deepest level embraces all of life with Thanksgiving: the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful … that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement.” (Henri Nouwen)